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FAQ on marriage
From: Civil Affairs Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality
Updated: 2019-08-30

1. Q: I am a registered resident of Shenzhen. Where should I register for marriage? Where should I register for marriage with a foreigner?

A: Shenzhen has 10 Marriage Registries of the Civil Affairs Bureau in districts (and new area) by jurisdiction. To apply for marriage registration, you can bring your valid household register, ID card, and photo and register for marriage at the Marriage Registry of the Civil Affairs Bureau of the district (or new area) where your registered residence is located. Registration of a marriage involving a foreigner (Registration for marriage of a resident with Shenzhen hukou and a foreigner, overseas Chinese or a resident of Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan) is also handled at the Marriage Registry of the Civil Affairs Bureau in each district (or new area).

2. Q: Is marriage or divorce registration handled immediately? How long will it take?

A: Marriage or divorce registration is handled immediately at the marriage registry office, which takes about half an hour.

3. Q: I am a resident with Shenzhen hukou and my fiance is a German citizen. I need a certificate of absence of marriage record for marriage registration in Germany. Can the civil affairs bureau issue the certificate?

A: You can apply for the issuance with the Marriage Registry of the Civil Affairs Bureau of the district where your registered residence is located. According to the Notice by the Ministry of Civil Affairs on Further Standardizing the Marriage Registration Record Certification (No. 266 [2015] Letter of the Ministry of Civil Affairs), the certificate of (absence of) marriage record shall be issued for notarization in Taiwan, Kazakhstan, Finland, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, and Poland only and other such applications will not be accepted.

4. Q: If one marriage certificate is lost, can I apply for divorce registration at the Marriage Registry of the Civil Affairs Bureau?

A: The marriage registration authority may handle divorce registration according to the other marriage certificate, provided that the parties concerned shall give a written explanation of the loss of the marriage certificate, which shall be filed by the marriage registration authority.

5. Q: What are collateral relatives within three generations?

A: Collateral relatives within three generations mean that the parties concerned are offspring of the same grandparents, such as siblings, cousins, aunts and nephews, and uncles and nieces.

6. Q: What is the legal age for marriage registration in China?

A: The minimum age is 22 years old for men and 20 years old for women.

7. Q: My boyfriend is from Spain. He is under the age of 22. Can he register for marriage in China?

A: No. According to Article 5 of the Regulations on Marriage Registration, a foreigner applying for marriage registration shall present the following documents and certification materials: (1) his/her valid passport or other valid international travel documents; (2) a certificate of no spouse issued by a notarization institution or a competent authority in the country where he/she is located and certified by the embassy (consulate) of the People's Republic of China in the said country, or issued by the embassy (consulate) of the said country in China. In addition, according to the Marriage Law, the minimum age of marriage shall be 22 years old for men and 20 years old for women. Therefore, your foreign boyfriend must present the foregoing materials and meet the age requirements for marriage registration in China.

8. Q: My marriage certificate obtained in a Chinese embassy abroad contains the passport number only and does not contain the ID card number. Will the certificate be valid when I am back to China?

A: According to Article 19 of the Regulations on Marriage Registration, embassies (consulates) of the People's Republic of China abroad can register marriage for Chinese citizens who both reside in the said country. Therefore, your marriage certificate issued by the Chinese embassy abroad by law is legal and valid in China.

9. Q: I registered for marriage involving a foreigner with Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau in 1990. Where can I check and copy the original registration file?

A: The marriage registration files involving foreigners handled at Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau before 1995 have been handed over to Shenzhen Archives Center (Add: 23 Linfeng Road, (Shangmeilin) Futian District, Tel: (86-755) 88127712). You can bring valid certificates and query files there. The marriage registration files involving foreigners from 1996 to 2004 and the divorce registration files before 2004 are still kept in Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau. If necessary, you can query files at the Social Affairs Office of Shenzhen Civil Affairs Bureau (appointment Tel: (86-755) 2582730, Add.: Room 1605A, Tower A, Zhongmin Times Plaza, 12 Sungang Road, Shenzhen).

10. Q: We are both foreigners working or living in Shenzhen. Can we register for marriage in Shenzhen? What supporting documents should we submit?

A: Yes. Both of you shall submit a single status certificate issued by your country (see the Regulations on Marriage Registration for details) and a certificate of recognition of the validity of residents' marriage registration abroad by your country.

(Note: The text above is a translation of the Chinese version for reference only. In case of any discrepancy between the two versions, the original published Chinese version shall prevail.)